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Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center

USGS Pacific Coral Reefs Website

Photo of coral reef.  


Satellite image of the island of Kauai

Landsat satellite image from NASA

Geologically the oldest of the main eight Hawaiian Islands, the northernmost island of Kauaʻi has a total area of 142 sq km (552 sq mi). This island receives the most rainfall of the main eight Hawaiian Islands, thus giving its nickname of the Garden Isle. Kauaʻi is surrounded on all sides by a fringing reef, with a reef flat sometimes as wide as 1 km (0.6 mi). The reef is under the influence of high wave energy due to the island's geographic position.

In June 2005 the USGS began a partnership with the Hanalei Watershed Hui. In 1998 the Hanalei River was designated as an American Heritage River in order to foster cooperative, community-based efforts for the preservation of the surrounding environment. The Hanalei River Valley is home to numerous taro farms and water quality and useage for irrigation are of concern. In an effort to halt flooding, levees were built along portions of the river, thus leading to increased discharge into Hanalei Bay during storm events. We are working on identifying circulation patterns and a sediment budget for Hanalei Bay to help determine any effects to the coastal marine ecosystem including coral reefs.

View click-and-zoom panorama of Hanalei Bay (1.8Mb)

USGS Open File Report 2006-1085
Coastal circulation and sediment dynamics in Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi; Part I — Measurements of waves, currents, temperature, salinity and turbidity; June – August, 2005

USGS Open File Report 2006-1125
Coastal Circulation and sediment dynamics in Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi; Part II — Tracking fluvial sedimentation; Isotope stratigraphy obtained in Summer 2005

USGS Open File Report 2006-1147
Coastal Circulation and sediment dynamics in Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi; Part III — Studies of sediment toxicity

U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1295
Coastal circulation and sediment dynamics in Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi; Part IV — Measurements of waves, currents, temperature, salinity, and turbidity, June-September 2006

USGS Open File Report 2007-1219
Science and management in the Hanalei watershed; a trans-disciplinary approach. Proceedings from the Hanalei watershed workshop, 21-22 February 2007

USGS Data Series 289
Sedimentary properties of shallow marine cores collected in June and September 2006, Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi

Other selected works

Draut, A.E., Bothner, M.H., Field, M.E., Reynolds, R.L., Cochran, S.A., Logan, J.B., Storlazzi, C.D., and Berg, C.J., 2009, Supply and dispersal of flood sediment from a steep, tropical watershed; Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi, USA: GSA Bulletin, v. 121, no. 3-4, p. 574-585, doi:10.1130/B26367.1.

Hoeke, R.K., Storlazzi, C.D., and Ridd, P.V., 2013, Drivers of circulation in a fringing coral reef embayment: A wave-flow coupled numerical modeling study of Hanalei Bay, Hawaii: Continental Shelf Research, v. 58, p. 79-95, doi:10.1016/j.csr.2013.03.007.

Hoeke, R.K., Storlazzi, C.D., and Ridd, P.V., 2011, Hydrodynamics of a bathymetrically complex fringing coral reef embayment; wave climate, in situ observations and wave prediction: Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, v. 116, C04018, 19 p., doi:10.1029/2010JC006170.

Storlazzi, C.D., Field, M.E., Bothner, M.H., Presto, M.K., and Draut, A.E., 2009, Sedimentation processes in a coral reef embayment; Hanalei Bay, Kauai: Marine Geology, v. 264, no. 3-4, p. 140-151, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2009.05.002.

Takesue, R.K., Bothner, M.H., and Reynolds, R.L., 2009, Sources of land-derived runoff to a coral reef-fringed embayment identified using geochemical tracers in nearshore sediment traps, Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, v. 85, no. 3, p. 459-471, doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2009.09.014.


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